The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is a great place to see a flawlessly restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, but the event also features plenty of the latest cars too.
Attendees en route to the classic car show's awards ceremony on Sunday were funnelled past a stable of concept cars from many manufacturers at the prestigious golf course near Monterey in California. The 60th red Ferrari in a single day can seem a bit ho-hum as it rolls past, but there's still plenty to catch a car enthusiast's eye among the concept cars. The models range from thought experiments to forthcoming products.
The Essence is one of those show cars that's rolled out by manufacturers every now and then to establish, in the public's eye, that company's style for the next few years — the recently revealed Infiniti M (a BMW 5-Series sized car) cribs many of Essence's cues, for instance. The Essence's hybrid powertrain consists of a turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 and an electric motor that together deliver about 440kW of power to the rear wheels. Underlining the car's opulence, it features custom-fitted Louis Vuitton luggage.
Due to go into production in early 2010, the SuperSports employs a 274kW 4.8-litre BMW V8 engine, mating it with a hardwood interior and an aluminium body. In the UK it will be priced at around AU$215k.
Built for the company's 100th anniversary, the Sang Bleu is a one-off version of the Veyron 16.4, a 1001-horsepower (745kW) machine that can accelerate to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds and decelerate back to a stop in 2.3 seconds. Its top speed is 407km/h; a feat that can only be achieved on a banked track and with special tyres.
The standout feature of the new Evora, at least compared to many of its rivals at the Concours d'Elegance, is a back seat. The more luxurious Lotus is due to go on sale in Australia in late 2009. A two-seat version will cost AU$150k before on-road costs, while the four-seat model will retail for AU$157k. It reaches 100km/h in just over five seconds and has a top speed of 260km/h. Lotus' low-mass philosophy also helps the official fuel economy rating to a very respectable 8.7L/100km.
The windshield-free Stirling Moss edition of the SLR has a 5.5-litre 478kW/820Nm supercharged V8 engine. It can accelerate to 100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, reaching a top speed of 350km/h. Production will be limited to 75 machines, left-hand drive only and each one will cost around AU$1.45 million.
It's been a long time since Lincoln was uttered in the same breath as Mercedes-Benz, let alone Cadillac, but the company is exploring ways to make a smaller car that retains a measure of Lincolness. So, while it's no snarling supercar, Ford does call the concept "spirited". It features centre-opening or suicide doors, a 1.6-litre 134kW engine and fuel economy on the highway of around 5.5L/100km.
Want to feel like a Formula One driver? Want to share that experience with someone? The Tramontana might be for you. Behind the rear passenger's seat is a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 pumping out 529kW of power and 920Nm of torque. Allied with the lightweight carbon fibre body (1364kg all up) and six-speed sequential gearbox, this Spanish supercar races to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed in excess of 300km/h.
The Sunset is a two-door, hardtop convertible version of the Karma plug-in hybrid sedan that's set to arrive in American showrooms in 2010. The convertible's due in 2011 and is designed to accelerate to 100km/h in six seconds and reach a top speed of 200km/h.
Want a Dodge Challenger with more mumbo and aggro? SMS Supercars is able to offer you just that with all manner of styling and handling mods, as well as an engine rated anywhere between 500 and 700hp (370 and 520kW).
The Rolls-Royce 200EX &mdash for experimental car, no less — features rear-hinged rear doors, a prominent prow and a V12 engine. Smaller, lighter, curvier and cheaper than the current Phantom, the 200EX will enter production soon as the Ghost.
Iconic Motors showed off a chassis and this more finished idea with a body resembling the classic AC Cobra. The concept features an 800hp (597kW) V8 and what the company calls VEEDIMS — Virtual Electrical Electronic Device Interface Management System — which replaces a traditional car's mess of communication wires with a single cable and a wireless network.
Most BMWs in the vicinity of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance were considerably roomier than this two-seater, three-wheeler Isetta 300 from about 50 years ago, but most also had a harder time finding room to park and were nowhere near as cute.